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School of Graduate Studies and Research

Choosing if Graduate School is right for you

Considering graduate school? Take a look at these resources to make sure it’s the best decision for you:

Why go to grad school?

If you're thinking about going to graduate school navigating the process seem really overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself why.
Think about this:
• A Master's Degree typically takes 2-3 years
• A Ph.D. can take 5-8 years
So again, ask yourself why.
Its also important to think about the good reasons to go to Graduate School and the reasons not to.

Good reasons to go to graduate school:

"Here is the only good reason to go to grad school. I am intellectually curious about a particular academic topic; i enjoy reading, thinking, writing, and researching about this topic and my motivation for studying this topic comes entirely from within. I understand that in order to gain further expertise in my chosen topic, I need to pursue a post-graduate degree. I hope to use this degree in order to land a job in an academic or applied environment that takes advantage of my expertise."
(Adapted from Dr. Richard Lawler's "So You Want to Go to Grad School")

Bad reasons to go to grad school:

• I don't know what else to do with my life so I'll just go to grad school
• My parents have high expectations for me and I don't want to let them down.
• I think that I kinda like something, so I guess I'll apply to grad school
• I got mostly A's in college so graduate school will be easy
• I don't know what to do next/I'm scared of real life
• Grad school is what comes after college, right?
• I don't know what else to do

When deciding, talk to people who have gone to grad school. Ask your professors, get their opinions, and ask them to share what their experience was like. Ask a lot of people- not all graduate schools are the same and some programs (even in the same field) vary greatly. Talk to current graduate students- find out what they like and what they struggle with. There are a lot of perspectives and a lot of different experiences. Ask questions, talk with people, and use their insight to help navigate your decision.
For some professions, graduate school or an advanced degree is required. Counseling, law, teaching college, and medicine are all careers in which you must go beyond an undergraduate education. If you are unsure of what career you want, delay going to graduate school. It is too much time, stress, and money if you are unsure of what you want to do. But if you know and you're ready, then keep going! We will be here to support you through the entire process.

Other things you can do to get started

• Register with the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement to gain volunteer experience that can be put onto your CV or Resume. You can also do a leadership transcript to supplement your application.
• Have you set up an internship? Talk with Career Services about finding an internship in your field.
• Have you planned to study abroad? Talk with international studies and start planning now.
• Do you have research experience? Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research webpage to learn how to begin, getting connected with a mentor, and presenting your work.

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